Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why Don't You Say What's
Really on Your Mind

Louise Wilson, director of the M.A. program
at Central Saint Martins.
Photo by Greg Kessler, courtesy

This post has been up at Cathy Horyn's blog since last week, but it's well worth a read if you haven't already. Cathy reports on her recent conversation about the current and future state of fashion with Louise Wilson, the course director for the Master's program at London's Central Saint Martins (the school responsible for turning out Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Stella McCartney, and numerous other designers).

Among the stinging insights Wilson offers:
There are immensely talented people around but I feel huge vortexes of them are sucked into this mediocre world where nobody criticizes and it’s all terribly politically correct. Even journalists are the same. You now hardly get a bad a review. In their mind the journalists are supporting the industry, so they don’t want to dish it. For me it’s that banality of what is youth. Even the way they put themselves together. Again, today, I was interviewing people for the MA program, and I said, “Why are you dressed like Topman?” Maybe it is a Miu Miu shirt, but essentially it’s Topman. It’s got no individuality at all. You’ve not stretched the neck of the T-shirt. You’ve not denoted your uniform. You’re not even wearing non-fashion. You’re not even saying that. You’re saying nothing....I have come to the viewpoint that nothing is happening. That’s why straight men now look gayer than gay men. I ask the students why that is, and they look at me like I’m mad. It’s that blurring of the lines, the stripping down. They take no risks about anything, not even the way they go up against the industry or show their clothes. It’s all about being professional.
I think the problem is that fashion has become too fashionable. For years, fashion wasn’t fashionable. Today fashion is so fashionable that it’s almost embarrassing to say you’re part of fashion. All the parodies of it. All the dreadful magazines. That has destroyed it as well, because everybody thinks fashion is attainable....It might be very good for fashion if fashion goes out of fashion, and maybe nothing does happen for awhile and a few companies shut down. When the light turns away that’s when the new work will be done.
Read the full post here.

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